How well do you know potential customers?
If you know your customers’ preferred products, you’ll be one step ahead. Why? Because understanding customer product preferences can help you create a compelling message that resonates with your target audience. Your messaging can be more specific, providing the right enticement to buy from you, not your competition. Do you know what feature and benefits potential customers look for in a product or service offering similar to yours?
If you’re not sure…
Look at all customer touch points – or interactions with the customer – where competing or substitute products may be different or offer a source of competitive advantage. Factors to consider range from features and benefits, quality, durability and performance to how a product or service is delivered and priced. You should also consider personal or individual traits that influence or motivate your prospect to purchase your offering. Some traits to consider include:
- Price – Value perception
- Interest in new or different offerings (i.e. like to be an early adopter)
- Need versus want focus
- Addictive personality
- Law abiding
- Vanity or image driven
- Distrustful of new or different offerings (i.e. late adopter)
- Satisfies a want or achieves self-actualization
- Safety concerns
- Thrill seeker
- Health concerns
Fine tune your assumptions
Conduct a customer survey to get potential customer or prospect feedback. Try to uncover the problem(s) your prospect would like to solve or an objective they would like to achieve with regard to your type of offering. In some cases, they will have “needs” that must be met, and in other cases, they will have “wants” that would be nice to have. Is your offering a “want,” “need,” or somewhere in between? Also, what are their expectations with your offering? By learning more about your customer preferences or desires, you can tailor your message to their interests, helping you find new market segments to target to further grow your business.
How do competitors communicate their offering?
- Look at what competitors and substitutes offer in terms of features, benefits, and customer delivery (price, how and where they purchase, etc.) to help define what customers expect, need, and want, but are missing from current marketing offerings.
- Do competitors deliver their information according to customer wishes (email – html/text, letter/statement that’s mailed, etc.)?
- What is your competitor’s messaging or how do they describe their offering? What tone do they use? What features and benefits do they focus on? Maybe you can gain an advantage by focusing on a different benefit or use, or turn their message into something less desirable. Either way, you may be able to target a different or broader audience, gaining more market reach.
- Conduct a competitive analysis to uncover features and benefits to stress or de-emphasize and where – geographic region, online or offline, etc. – so that you can determine where to invest your resources.
- BenMark, Gadi and Maher Masri. “Cracking the Digital-Shopper Genome.” McKinsey & Company. Last modified August 2015. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/cracking_the_digital-shopper_genome.
- “Determining Product Attribute Preferences with Conjoint Analysis and Choice Modeling.” Visionedge Marketing. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://visionedgemarketing.com/determining-product-attribute-preferences-conjoint-choice/.
- Flamberg, Danny. “Why Customer Preferences Matter More Than Ever.” The Hired Guns Marketing Consulting Group, LLC. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://thehiredguns.com/why-customer-preferences-matter/.
- Genchur, Nicole. “5 Consumer Trends to Watch in 2018.” GroundTruth. Last modified January 2, 2018. https://www.groundtruth.com/insight/five-consumer-trends-watch-2018/.
- Holtzclaw, Eric. “Why Preference Management is the Secret to Customer Retention.” NAPCO Media. Last modified March 6, 2019. https://www.mytotalretail.com/article/why-preference-management-secret-customer-retention/.
- “Micro economics – Consumer Behavior: Consumer Preferences, Indifference Curves.” Zeepidia.com. Accessed July 30, 2019. http://www.zeepedia.com/read.php?consumer_behavior_consumer_preferences_indifference_curves_micro_economics&b=70&c=6.
- “Why It’s Importance to Understanding the Customer’s Buying Behaviour.” Oxford College of Marketing. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://blog.oxfordcollegeofmarketing.com/2014/11/27/why-its-important-to-understand-the-customers-buying-behaviour/.
- Solomon, Micah. “2015 Is The Year Of The Millennial Customer: 5 Key Traits These 80 Million Consumers Share.” Forbes.com LLC. Last modified December 29, 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2014/12/29/5-traits-that-define-the-80-million-millennial-customers-coming-your-way/.
- “The Importance of Consumer Behavior and Preferences.” i-Scoop. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.i-scoop.eu/importance-consumer-behavior-preferences/.
- Weedmark, David. “Definition of Consumer Preference.” Bizfluent. Last modified June 11, 2018. https://bizfluent.com/info-8698883-definition-consumer-preference.html.